July 08, 2010
By: Cynthia Dizikes, Chicago Tribune
The family of a Calumet Township trustee who apparently drowned during an after-hours pool party organized by Blue Island Park District officials last month has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the park district president and the city of Blue Island.
Fred Bilotto, president of the Blue Island Park District, unlocked the swimming pool gate, allowed about 3o people to enter, and also attended the party, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.
The body of Carlos Salgado, 26, was found at the bottom of the Memorial Park Pool on June 26 following the late-night party, which was held after Blue Island Fest. Police said that Salgado, who could not swim, had been drinking before the party.
Salgado’s family claims in the lawsuit that alcohol was consumed openly in and around the pool during the party and that no lifeguards were present.
Police said the party broke up about 2:3o a.m. without partygoers noticing that Salgado had drowned.
An attorney for the city said Blue Island is a separate governmental entity from the park district and has no duty to maintain the park district’s property or control its events.
“We didn’t have anything to do with it,” said attorney Terry Sullivan. “It is the park district they should be directing these allegations to and not the city.”
But the plaintiff’s attorney, Blake Horwitz, said that city employee may have attended the party. He said he hoped that those who were there will come forward and “honestly” describe what happened and who else was present.
A spokesman for the park district declined to comment on the lawsuit, pending an ongoing investigation by the Blue Island Police Department.